Alexandria Digital Research Library

Sovereign, Shaman and Bodhisattva : A Medieval Reinterpretation of Empress Jingū in the Hachiman gudōkun

Author:
Simpson, Emily Blythe
Degree Supervisor:
Fabio Rambelli
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
Publisher:
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
2014
Issued Date:
2014
Topics:
Folklore, History, Asia, Australia and Oceania, and Religion, General
Keywords:
Buddhism
Empress Jingu
Shamanism
Hachiman
Rulership
Japan
Genres:
Online resources and Dissertations, Academic
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies
Dissertation:
M.A.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2014
Description:

Empress Jingu (traditionally 169-269 CE) is a legendary figure, appearing in myths of the gods in the earliest chronicles of Japan, the Kojiki (712) and the Nihon shoki (720). According to these accounts, she was a shaman as well as empress and the vessel through which the gods made known their will to the emperor. At Emperor Chuai's death, she took up the divine mission bequeathed to her husband and organized an invasion of the Korean peninsula, calling on the gods whenever her goal was frustrated. She returned triumphant to Japan, bore a son, and ensured his succession to the throne through her own period of rulership. Though the paucity of historical evidence has led to various theories regarding the story's factual basis, its importance as a legend is evident from its appearance and reinvention through over a thousand years of Japanese history.

This thesis charts what may perhaps be considered the first phase of that reinvention. In the later classical and medieval periods of Japan, Jingu's son, Emperor Ojin, was identified with Hachiman, a local god of increasingly central importance and an emblem of syncretic religious traditions within Japan. With the growing importance of Buddhism, both Hachiman and his mother were reimagined with Buddhists elements in their histories. Focusing on the Hachiman gudokun, a shrine-temple origins account written in the first decades of the fourteenth century, this thesis charts the developments of the Jingu narrative in various documents of the medieval period. Highlighting three key roles of Jingu's character--ruler, shaman, and Buddhist--I show how the Hachiman gudokun presented a version of Empress Jingu's story revitalized by contemporary developments in Buddhist and political thought, paving the way for the powerful martial image of Jingu that emerged during the Meiji Period.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (165 pages)
Format:
Text
Collection(s):
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
ARK:
ark:/48907/f30z71fb
ISBN:
9781321568677
Catalog System Number:
990045119010203776
Rights:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Emily Simpson
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